21 January, 2021

The Children of the Damory Brothers, Richard and Roger

Edward II's 'favourite' of c. 1315 to 1319 and nephew-in-law Sir Roger Damory, or d'Amory or Dammori or Daumary etc, of Buckinghamshire, was the younger brother of Sir Richard Damory (d. 21 August 1330). Richard Damory was, at various points, the steward of Edward II's household, the guardian of Edward's son the future Edward III ("keeper of the body of my lord Sir Edward, earl of Chester"), justice of North Wales, keeper of the peace in Oxfordshire, sheriff of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and constable of various royal castles. In July 1300, he was in the household of Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford, who married Edward I's daughter Elizabeth in 1302. [1] Richard, as the elder brother, was heir to the Damory family's lands in Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Somerset, which passed to his son Richard the younger (d. 1375) after his death. Richard Damory the younger was said to be sixteen in his father's inquisition post mortem of September/October 1330, and thirty-five in his mother's of December 1354. He proved his age, swore fealty to Edward III and was allowed to enter his lands on 16 January 1337, so had recently turned twenty-one and was probably born in late 1315 or thereabouts, though his proof of age itself is missing. [2] 

Richard Damory the elder, who was active as a knight, soldier and keeper of the peace before 1300 and was probably born c. the mid-1270s, married a woman called Margaret (d. 1354). As well as their first son and heir Richard, they had a younger son called John and a daughter called Joan, both alive in 1347. [3] John Damory seems to have had no children, though there is a reference in 1347 to the "heirs male of the body of Joan". Margaret Damory's identity is uncertain - as is the identity of the Damory brothers' mother, who appears to have been called Juliana - though I believe she was a relative of Sir Giles de Lisle or Insula (the Latin form of the name) of Oxfordshire, most probably his sister. On 9 June 1314, Giles de Lisle granted Richard and Margaret a moiety of two of his manors and pasture land and meadow in four others, to pass eventually to the "heirs begotten by Richard on the body of Margaret" with remainders to Richard's brother Roger Damory and Giles' daughter Christina de Lisle. Also on 9 June 1314, Richard Damory granted his manor of Thornborough in Buckinghamshire to Giles de Lisle and his wife Aline for their lives, and Giles still held it at the time of Richard's death in 1330. [4] The date of these grants, and the birth of Richard and Margaret's son Richard Damory the younger in c. late 1315, suggests that Richard and Margaret had recently married in June 1314.

Roger Damory was Edward II's influential 'favourite' between c. early 1315, as far as I can work out, and c. 1319, when he was gradually replaced in the king's affections by Edward's ruthless and manipulative new chamberlain, Hugh Despenser the Younger. At the height of his relationship with the king, Roger was rewarded with a brilliant marriage to the king's wealthy and twice-widowed niece Elizabeth de Burgh née de Clare around 30 April/3 May 1317. Edward II was hectoring Elizabeth to marry Roger as early as September 1316, before her second husband Theobald de Verdon had even been buried yet, though their wedding was delayed by Elizabeth's pregnancy: she gave birth to Theobald's posthumous daughter Isabella on 21 March 1317. Roger later rebelled against Edward and joined the Contrariant rebellion of 1321/22, and died at Tutbury Priory on c. 12/14 March 1322 (chroniclers give 13 or 14 March as the date of his death, though his widow kept his anniversary as 12 March, the feast of St Gregory). 

Sir Richard and Sir Roger Damory's father Sir Robert was still alive on 12 July 1285 but died not long after (according to the Complete Peerage), so even if Roger was posthumous, he can't have been born any later than the spring or summer of 1286, and most probably was born well before that. His brother Richard was old enough to be knighted by 1297 and to be appointed keeper of the peace in Oxfordshire in 1300, and Roger himself was knighted sometime before September 1306, the first time I can find him on record. [5] He wasn't one of the 265 men knighted with Edward of Caernarfon, prince of Wales, on 22 May 1306. If I'm correct that Sir Richard Damory married Margaret (de Lisle?) shortly before 9 June 1314, he must have been in his late thirties or thereabouts at the time of his wedding, and when Sir Roger married Elizabeth de Burgh in the spring of 1317, he must also have been well past thirty. She was twenty-one.

Roger Damory and Elizabeth de Burgh had one surviving child, Elizabeth Damory, later Lady Bardolf, the wife of John, Lord Bardolf of Wormegay in Norfolk (1312-63). There are several references in the chancery rolls and various inquisitions, beginning in August 1337, which refer to Elizabeth Bardolf née Damory as Roger Damory's daughter and heir, and English inheritance law of the fourteenth century makes it absolutely certain, therefore, that she was his only surviving legitimate child. If Roger had had a legitimate son or sons, the eldest son would have been his sole heir; if he had had other surviving legitimate daughters, she or they would have shared the few manors Roger had held in his own right with Elizabeth Bardolf.

In October 2018, genealogist Douglas Richardson made the exciting discovery that in 1329, Roger Damory had two surviving legitimate daughters and heirs: Margaret and Elizabeth. See his post in soc.genealogy.medieval, and here is an image of the original document that names the two Damory daughters. Margaret Damory is named before Elizabeth, and therefore was probably the elder. It would seem, therefore, that Margaret Damory was still alive in 1329 but died sometime between then and 1337, when Elizabeth Bardolf was first described as Roger Damory's sole heir. It might not be a coincidence that Elizabeth is called Roger's sole heir for the first time, as far as I can tell, in the charter rolls and the patent rolls on 8 and 13 August 1337. Perhaps Margaret had recently died. [6] Elizabeth Damory married John Bardolf before 25 December 1327, and their son William Bardolf was born in Wormegay, Norfolk on 21 October 1349. [7] They had daughters Agnes and Isabel as well, who are mentioned in their grandmother Elizabeth de Burgh's will of 1355 but appear to have died young or joined a convent. 

I've written before that Edward II rewarded Roger Damory's messenger John Pyrro with the large sum of £20 on 23 May 1318 for bringing him news of the birth of Roger and Elizabeth de Burgh's child, just over a year after their wedding. Unfortunately, the royal accounts fail to specify the child's name or even sex. I've previously assumed that this infant must have been Elizabeth Damory Bardolf, as she was later Roger's only surviving child, but it seems that I was wrong. There are two references to Elizabeth de Burgh employing wet-nurses at Usk Castle in 1322/23, one of them in her household accounts and the other in a letter sent by her brother-in-law Hugh Despenser the Younger in September or October 1322. With his usual hauteur, Hugh wrote "regarding the lady's wet-nurses, we have been requested that they be moved from Usk to Gower or elsewhere, and we have permitted this and wish it to be so." [8] 

Clearly, a child born in May 1318 wouldn't still require wet-nurses almost four and a half years later, and therefore, it seems that Roger Damory and Elizabeth de Burgh had another child born sometime in c. 1321/22. Perhaps this was Elizabeth Bardolf, and perhaps Margaret was the child born in May 1318. (Douglas Richardson's post linked above states that Elizabeth Bardolf must have been born by 1320 as she was married to John Bardolf by late 1327 and had to be at least seven years old then, but he is mistaken on this point. There are plenty of examples in the fourteenth century of children marrying before they were seven, such as four-year-old David Bruce of Scotland in July 1328, three-year-old Lionel of Antwerp in August 1342, the wedding of four-year-old Maud of Lancaster and five- or six-year-old Ralph Stafford in November 1344, and the wedding of six-year-old Thomas Despenser and the even younger Constance of York in November 1379.)

I've been unable to find any other references to Margaret Damory, and it's interesting that it was her younger sister Elizabeth who was married to John Bardolf in or before December 1327 and not Margaret, given that John was probably born in January 1312 and Margaret would have been closer to his age than Elizabeth was. Roger Damory and Elizabeth de Burgh's children, though not in any way great heiresses, were the half-siblings of William de Burgh, earl of Ulster (1312-33) and Isabella de Verdon, Lady Ferrers of Groby (1317-49), and were great-grandchildren of Edward I and first cousins once removed of King Edward III. They were, therefore, of high birth, so it's also interesting that Margaret Damory is so obscure.

On 14 April 1318, 6 December 1319 and sometime in 1321, there are references to three students at the King's Hall at the University of Cambridge, founded by Edward II in July 1317 to mark the tenth anniversary of his accession to the throne. The students' names were Nicholas, Richard and William Damory, and their name also appears in the university records as Nicholas, Richard and William Pour(e). This means 'poor', though it may not be a coincidence that Roger and Richard Damory's sister Katherine married Sir Walter Poure of Oxfordshire. [9] In addition, Sir Roger Damory's widow Elizabeth de Burgh bought books of civil law for Nicholas Damory in March 1326, so although he was no longer named on record as a student of the University of Cambridge after 1321, evidently he was still studying. [10] Nicholas Damory, who was knighted and died in 1381, was associated with Elizabeth for decades and was one of her most trusted - perhaps the most trusted - advisers, officials, attorneys and adherents. In Elizabeth's long will of 1355, Nicholas was named first among her fifteen executors, and in fact was the very first person named in the will. Nicholas had a very long and remarkably successful career that I hope to look at in more detail at some point.

The question is, who were Nicholas, Richard and William Damory/Pour(e), the Cambridge students? This Richard is most unlikely to have been the Sir Richard Damory of Oxfordshire born c. the 1270s; he was far too busy acting as the guardian of the future king of England in the late 1310s to be a student at Cambridge. Richard's son the younger Richard was only born c. 1315, so obviously it can't be him either. As well as his decades-long association with Roger Damory's widow Elizabeth de Burgh, Nicholas Damory was associated with Elizabeth Damory Bardolf: she and her husband John Bardolf granted him the Oxfordshire manor of Holton, which she had inherited from her father Roger, for life in 1340, and John appointed Nicholas as his attorney when he went overseas in 1363. [11] The Complete Peerage speculates that Nicholas was probably a first cousin of Richard Damory the younger (c. 1315-1375). [12] If this is the case, he was the son of either Roger Damory, or of another Damory brother whose existence has never been discovered. Might he have been an illegitimate son of Sir Roger Damory, and thus Elizabeth Damory Bardolf's half-brother? He can't have been Roger's legitimate son from a putative first marriage before he wed Elizabeth de Burgh in 1317, as otherwise Nicholas would have been his heir.

In addition to Sir Nicholas Damory, and the other two Damorys at the University of Cambridge in the late 1310s and early 1320s who appear to have been Nicholas's brothers, another Roger Damory appears on record in Elizabeth de Burgh's household accounts between 1331 and 1336, when he was underage. Elizabeth purchased cloth, shoes, candlesticks and other necessities for Roger and two other boys or young men living in her household. [13] This Roger was still underage or was about to come of age in 1336, so was born in or after 1315. He might also have been an illegitimate son of Sir Roger Damory (d. 1322) or perhaps of his older brother Sir Richard (d. 1330). As for Elizabeth Damory Bardolf, she was still alive when her mother Elizabeth de Burgh's inquisition post mortem was held in Lincolnshire on 10 December 1360 and in Dorset on 4 January 1361, but was dead when her husband John Bardolf's inquisition post mortem was held in November/December 1363; he held several manors in Lincolnshire by the 'courtesy of England' after her death. John died in Assisi, Italy on c. 29 July/3 August 1363, aged about fifty-one. [14] Their son and heir William Bardolf was left an orphan before he was fourteen, proved his age on 2 October 1371, married Agnes Poynings, had a son Thomas and daughters Cecily and Elizabeth and grandchildren from all of them, and died on 29 January 1386. [15]

Sources

1) Calendar of Chancery Warrants 1244-1326, p. 111.
2) Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem 1327-36, no. 275 CIPM 1352-60, no. 170; CIPM 1374-77, no. 116; Calendar of Fine Rolls 1327-37, pp. 192, 203; Calendar of Close Rolls 1333-37, p. 640.
3) Calendar of Patent Rolls 1345-48, p. 329.
4) Feet of Fines, Oxfordshire, CP 25/1/189/14, nos. 129, 130; Feet of Fines, Buckinghamshire, CP 25/1/18/65, nos. 15, 16, 19; CIPM 1327-36, no. 275; CFR 1307-19, p. 317. Richard and Giles jointly witnessed a grant of land in Oxfordshire at an uncertain date: Catalogue of Ancient Deeds, vol. 4, no. A.6864.
5) Calendar of Documents Relating to Ireland 1302-07, nos. 566, 599.
6) Calendar of Charter Rolls 1327-41, p. 426, 8 August 1337: 'John Bardolf and Elizabeth his wife, daughter and heir of the said Roger [Damory] and Elizabeth [de Burgh]'; CPR 1334-38, pp. 490-91, 13 August 1337: 'John Bardolf and Elizabeth his wife, daughter and heir of the said Roger [Damory]'. Also CIPM 1352-1360, no. 637, pp. 507, 509: 'Elizabeth daughter of the said Roger and Elizabeth [de Burgh], wife of John Bardolf, knight, aged 30 years and more, is the said Roger's heir to the manor' (Caythorpe, Lincolnshire).
7) CPR 1327-30, p. 198; CIPM 1361-5, no. 573; CIPM 1370-3, no. 136.
8) Cartae et Alia Munimenta quae ad Dominium Glamorgancia Pertinent, vol. 3, p. 1103; Jennifer Ward, Elizabeth de Burgh, Lady of Clare (1295-1360) (2014), xvii note 14, citing TNA SC 6/927/31.
9) Admissions to Trinity College, Cambridge, ed. W.W.R. Ball and J.A. Venn, vol. 1, pp. 83-5.
10) Jennifer Ward, English Noblewomen in the Late Middle Ages, p. 140.
11) CPR 1338-40, p. 477; CPR 1361-4, p. 377.
12) Complete Peerage, vol. 4, p. 48 note c.
13) Ward, Lady of Clare, p. 129; Frances Underhill, For Her Good Estate: The Life of Elizabeth de Burgh, p. 100.
14) CIPM 1352-1360, no. 637, pp. 507, 509; CIPM 1361-5, no. 573.
15) CIPM 1370-3, no. 136; CIPM 1384-92, nos. 218-32, 949.

3 comments:

sami parkkonen said...

This blog is truly a treasure for anyone interested in 1300's history!

Perhaps Margaret took a vow of poverty in some sisterhood and disavowed all earthly possessions etc.? Maybe she did something which was not agreeable by anyone and was removed from the social life and circles? Or maybe she just walked away from it all? Very interesting.

As for Nicholas, he most likely was seeing the future where some knights would become officials and high ranking bureaucrats in the service of the state, and thus he studied as long and as far he could. The days of knights being just warriors was passing already even though it was their main purpose at least on paper. Similar development happened in Japan where the samurai became servants of the state apparatus so much so that in the late 1600's and later on their skills as warriors had eroded significantly. Maybe something similar was going on in England which would explain the extremely bloody battles of the War of Roses and later on? Warfare was going trough changes, weapons and steel were improving, but the knights still fought like they had been doing for the past centuries, thus terrible slaughter ensued?

anonymous said...

Hi Kathryn,
The question i'm about to ask doesn't really have much to do with this post but i really wanted to ask, as Edward ii was being deposed by Isabella and Mortimer why didn't any of his brothers do anything? were his brothers too cowardly? or did they not have much affections for their brother? Thanks a lot for this blog i'm really happy i found it because merely relying on wikipedia and the other sparse articles is very annoying and exasperating, So i just want to tell you what you do is appreciated and the way you go into detail is amazing you're really a credit to historians everywhere. Keep on keeping on!

Kathryn Warner said...

Hello, thank you so much for the kind words! :-) I suppose it's possible that Edward's brothers did protest, but it wouldn't really be recorded anywhere, unfortunately. Given Edmund of Woodstock's actions in 1329/30, he might well have tried to do something in 1326/27 - or maybe he really believed that his nephew's accession was the best course of action for everyone. The brothers' noses had been well and truly put out of joint by Hugh Despenser.